Ride Dirty(2)

By: Laura Kaye

protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to

protect herself and stay alive.

Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.

And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a

point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.

And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that

he might hear the rest of my dark tale.

As soon as I finish a story... I begin a new

one... like the one that you, dear reader, have before

you now.


To you,

“Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel like you're nothing

You're fuckin' perfect to me”

~ Pink

Chapter 1

Caine McKannon eased his naked body off the bed, doing his best not to disturb the couple entangled next to him. He retrieved his jeans from the floor and stepped into them, then repeated the process with his boots, shirt, hoodie, and leather-and-denim Raven Riders cut-off jacket. He’d shower the ménage off of his skin when he got home. Fucking he could always handle. Talking, not so much.

So it was time to fly.

Caine had perfected ghosting through his life before his age had hit double digits—silence had been a survival skill given the way he’d grown up—so he was surprised to find a pair of eyes on him when he turned. The man was older than him, early fifties maybe. Elliott was his name, not that it mattered. But he’d been the one to contact Caine about being a third with him and his wife through the message boards, one of the main ways he found partners who wouldn’t have expectations for more.

Because Caine didn’t do more. Not with women. Or men. Or even with the couples for whom he served as a twisted fucking fantasy fulfillment. Hell, Caine barely had friends, let alone anything more intimate. And he never had. Sometimes, he could hardly believe his brothers in the Raven Riders put up with his anti-social bullshit. Actually, calling him anti-social would’ve been generous.

But distance made him good at his job. Distance provided perspective, ensured dispassionate reasoning, kept everyone safe. Himself included. And that was his job for the club: Enforce the rules. Keep everyone safe.

Punish any sonofabitch who dared cross him or the club.

Tugging the black beanie down over his shorn hair, Caine gave the man in the bed a last look.

Elliott met his gaze and acknowledged him with a single nod, before pulling the sheet over his much younger wife’s bare legs and ass like he was done sharing her. Caine had…absolutely no emotional reaction to the gesture at all. Sex wasn’t about finding a place or making a connection. It was about getting off. Fulfilling a need. Scratching an itch. Finding a release. He’d been used and had used in return, and that was fine by him. But now, he’d fulfilled his purpose with these people, and they were as done with him as he was with them.

He left the McMansion like a whisper in the night and found his Dyna Fat Bob in front of the three-car garage. There wasn’t any moon, so the bike was barely more than a shadow in the darkness. Working with one of his brothers who owned a custom chop shop, Caine had had the bike almost completely murdered out with a mix of black finishes that gave it a lean, brooding industrial feel, like it was more tactical weapon than motorcycle.

He got astride and heaved a sigh. It wasn’t quite eleven and despite the sex, restlessness rattled through his veins, telling him sleep wouldn’t find him any time soon. No sense going home. And he wasn’t up for the Saturday-night partying no doubt going down at the clubhouse.

So he’d do what he always did when he couldn’t sleep. Ride a circuit around town – swinging past the Ravens’ big compound, the racetrack the club operated, his brothers’ places, and the homes of the Ravens’ protectees who weren’t currently living in the cabins near their clubhouse. Patrolling wasn’t something he was expected to do, or that anyone even knew he did. Just something that filled his time. Just a routine that gave him something to think about besides the lame-ass woe-is-me bullshit narrative that sometimes filled his head.

You’re a fucking waste of space.

You’re a worthless piece of shit.

You should’ve been the one to die.

Wah wah whatthefuckever.

His bike came to life on a low rolling growl, drowning out the ancient voices and the memories. He donned a matte black helmet and tugged a mouth mask up over his face, and then he was pulling out onto the street and making his way through town, past quiet homes and closed businesses. Glowing Christmas lights hung in trees and around rooflines and in darkened windows, not that the holiday meant anything to him.

Every time he made a left turn, his shifting weight reminded him that he’d been shot through the left wrist less than three months before. The memory of that night was part of the bullshit that pinballed around his skull—not because he’d been hurt, but because three others had been, too. And it was his fucking fault.